Persecution in Eritrea rages on

By November 11, 2008

Eritrea (MNN) — Persecution of Christians in Eritrea continues to be overlooked by many western nations despite the arrests of over 2000 believers.

The Eritrean government claims no persons have been arrested based on their religious practices and in fact denies that any amount of religious disunity exists in the country. However, there has recently been reason to believe otherwise.

According to Voice of the Martyrs, persecution has been reported from several churches throughout the country. Although the government claims to support the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Lutheran Evangelical Church of Eritrea, even these churches have experienced conflict.

On October 12, Eritrean officials arrested 20 members of the Faith Missions Church, a congregation forced to worship in secret since they do not belong to any of the three recognized churches in the country. Later, another Christian died in prison after being refused treatment for his malaria. Since then, there have been reports of 65 more believers being arrested simply because of their faith.

With such copious numbers of various reports, it may be surprising that little has been said by other nations. "Because Eritrea is such a small country and because of other things going on in the world, it tends to fly below the radar," says Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs.

If anyone has taken notice of the injustice in the country, there is little financial incentive to put pressure on the government due to the very small amount of trade between Eritrea and western nations. This apathetic approach to the situation only deepens the frustration of the victims and organizations involved.

"There hasn't been the public outcry. There haven't been other countries calling on the Eritrean leader to let the Christians go," says Nettleton. "That's a frustrating thing for those of us who do know about what's going on and do understand that 2000 of our brothers and sisters are in prison. We would like more people to speak out on their behalf."

To do so, Nettleton suggests that people first and foremost begin to pray. He also implores people to write letters reminding the government that "Christians are not a threat. They simply want the freedom to worship God as they see fit."

Pray that this freedom would come soon and that the Lord would strengthen the many that are hated because of Him.

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